Omaha, Neb. – The UMBC men's soccer team advanced to the NCAA College Cup, as the Retrievers advanced past No. 12 Creighton, 4-3 in penalty kicks, after 110 minutes of scoreless soccer.
UMBC red-shirt sophomore goalkeeper Billy Heavner (Landisville, Pa.) saved the first penalty kick and after senior Mamadou Kansaye (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) converted, the Retrievers never trailed in the shoot-out. With the shoot-out tied at 3-3, senior forward Kay Banjo (Upper Marlboro, Md./Largo) beat CU netminder Connor Sparrow to the keeper's right, setting off a wild celebration by the unseeded Retrievers.
UMBC (14-5-5) will play the winner of the match between Virginia and Georgetown on Friday, Dec. 12 in Cary, N.C.
The Bluejays had a slight edge in possession time in the first half, but the Retrievers had the best attempt, as senior back Jordan Becker (Pocomoke, Md.) hit a rocket from 23 yards just a yard or so over the crossbar in the 25th minute. Creighton sent a through ball into dangerous territory with a minute remaining in the half, but Heavner came out aggressively and snuffed out the chance.
UMBC took better control of the match in the second half. Senior midfielder Geaton Caltabiano (Lothian, Md./Mt. St. Joseph) had the best chance, with a good strike from 20 yards, but CU netminder Connor Sparrow made with good save in the 79'.
The Retrievers kept the pressure on in the first overtime period. UMBC got an early corner and senior back Marquez Fernandez (Baltimore ,Md./McDonogh) soared for the corner ,but Sparrow snared it. Later in the period, junior Joseph Pratt (Gaithersburg, Md./Gaithersburg) tried to run onto a cross from senior Michael DiCesare (Westerville, Md./St. Frances) at the four yard line, just was shielded off the ball.
The Bluejays rallied in the second extra frame and had an excellent chance late, but chipped a shot from eight yards out over the net.
In the shootout, Creighton's Fabian Herbers shot first and Heavner dove to his right to make the save. After Kansaye converted, CU's Eric Dejulio hit the left post, but Caltabiano's shot to the right corner was saved by Sparrow. The Bluejays would convert on each of their final three shots, but were matched by Becker, junior Michael Scott (Fife, Scotland) and finally Banjo, who beat Sparrow to the keeper's right side.
Notes: UMBC is now unbeaten in its last ten games (8-0-2)… The Retrievers are the first unseeded team to make the College Cup since UMass made it in 2007… UMBC has gone 788 minutes and seven games (Princeton, 2010) without allowing a road goal in NCAA Tournament play… UMBC becomes the first America East team to make the College Cup.